How to record Twitch streams for later viewing on a PC

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Are you looking to record a Twitch stream to share at a later time as a guide or meme? Keeping and sharing segments of a Twitch stream doesn’t have to be hard. This is the best way to do it. Let’s start with the simplest option: Enabling Video on Demand (VOD) mode on Twitch itself.

Saving with VOD on Twitch

VOD is an option Twitch offers streamers so they can keep parts of their stream in storage for later access and easy viewing for their fans. If you haven’t tried this part of Twitch yet, it’s the easiest way to turn streams into long-term videos. Here’s how to enable it.

Step 1: Log on and visit the Creator Dashboard. Once here, select the three-lined Hamburger icon at the top-left of the window to open settings.

Step 2: In the menu, choose Preferences, then select Channel. This will shoot you over to the Channel Settings page. Once there, select your Profile Icon in the top-right corner to open another menu. Here, choose Settings, then choose Channel and Videos.

Step 3: In the Channel and Videos section, look for the heading that says Stream Key and Preferences or similar wording (the format sometimes changes with Twitch updates). Here, you will see an option to Store Past Broadcasts. Make sure the slider here is turned on to enable storage. This will automatically save your broadcasts.

Storage will last a certain amount of time based on the streamer type. Twitch Partners, Prime users, and Twitch Turbo users will be able to keep videos for 60 days. Others will keep videos for 14 days before removal. However, you can also highlight certain clips as particularly important videos, and these will stay permanently. Otherwise, you should transfer videos to YouTube or a similar platform if you really want to keep them or show them for years to come.

Step 4: If you ever want to share a video, upload separate videos, or make a video a Highlight, visit your stored videos by going to the Hamburger menu icon again and selecting Content, then Video Producer. This will show all your stored videos.

This section has several useful categories, including showing all your current Highlights, as well the videos that are about to expire. However, the most useful function is the Three-Dot Lines at the right of each video. Select these for a drop-down menu that gives you all the options for managing videos, including editing them down to a certain clip, downloading them to local storage, turning them into a Highlight, or deleting them entirely. If you use YouTube, you can also use the Export function for fast uploading to that platform.

Final Note: If you are a fan who’s subscribed to a Twitch channel and wants to view past footage of streams, you can go to the streamer’s archive and see the video Highlights and other uploaded videos that the streamer is allowing fans to watch. That’s the best way to watch past videos if you aren’t sure where to begin!

Saving streams at a higher video quality

Twitch VOD is the answer to many recording issues, but in some cases, a streamer may want to record a video with higher resolution or other extra features, something VOD doesn’t allow. VOD also doesn’t allow for especially long streams, which is problematic for many streamers. Fortunately, Twitch does allow local recording of your stream using third-party tools. Twitch specifically recommends using the free, open-source Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) for this, and since this is a solid, compatible app, we recommend it, too.

Step 1: If you haven’t already done so, visit the OBS Project and download their software, then spend some time getting acquainted with the tools. You will need to use OBS to stream to Twitch with this approach, so it’s a good idea to try a couple of streams in OBS just to get used to the process.

Step 2: When ready, open OBS and select the Settings menu at the top, and select Settings.

Step 3: In the Settings side menu, select Broadcast Settings. Here, look for the section that says Save to File. Select it so that it is enabled.

Step 4: Below Save to File, you will see a section called File Path. Type or paste a file path for the folder you want all these videos saved to. File names will, by default, be the date and time of the recording, although you can change that. Select Apply when you’re finished.

Step 5: Now, the stream will automatically save to local storage when you are finished, allowing you to edit or store it from there.

Recording someone else’s Twitch stream

In general, we don’t recommend recording a Twitch stream that you are watching. Twitch streamers frequently produce this content as part of their job. With their ownership, the responsibility of saving and sharing it — or choosing not to — is theirs. It’s also legally dicey.

However, if you get permission from a streamer to record their work while watching, there are tools that can help you. Many capture apps will allow you to record part of your screen with tailored tools. One of the apps that do this well is the free program we already mentioned above, OBS!

If you have OBS Studio downloaded, this process is quite simple. Start a video capture with Window Capture mode, and while previewing the capture zone, hold the Alt key and drag your cursor to resize the capture zone. You can then resize it to your Twitch video window to capture what happens there. Video quality may be limited with this method.

If you don’t want to use OBS, other effective video recorders may be able to work. If you watch Twitch with VLC, for example, you can usually use the VLC recorder to capture parts of the stream.

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